Son killed in river plunge

A family told of their double tragedy last night after a son was killed when his car plunged into the River Tyne.

Peter Tullin, 35, with his twin sister Patricia

A family told of their double tragedy last night after a son was killed when his car plunged into the River Tyne.

Fitness instructor Peter Tullin was driving back from a night out with friends in Prudhoe to his home in Newcastle when he lost control of his car on Ovingham Road, just outside Wylam, Northumberland.

His silver Honda Civic veered into a stone wall, before careering across the road, crashing into a wooden fence on the banks of the river and tumbling 30ft down a grassy slope, before landing on its roof in the water at about 11.30pm on Wednesday.

A passing driver dialled 999 and a firefighter rushed in to try and rescue the 35-year-old, the duty manager of Prudhoe Water World fitness centre, but he had died by the time he was dragged out of the car.

Yesterday his family, including twin sister Patricia, revealed how the boxing and football fan had cared for his mother following the death of his father 10 months ago.

Families living near to the crash scene in Wylam said the road was dangerous because motorists, seeing the no-speed limit sign on the way out of the village, drive at high speeds on the narrow carriageways.

A section of the wooden fencing, which villagers described as "not designed to stop cars crashing into it", has been reinforced after an accident three years ago when three people fell into the river.

But Peter, known as Pepsi by his close friends, who cared for his mother Patricia, 66, at his home in Northumbria Walk, Westerhope, Newcastle, hit the fence just yards before the crash barrier.

Northumbria Police, Northumberland County Council and Tynedale Council all last night said they would be investigating what happened in the tragedy, including looking at improved safety measures.

Peter's twin sister Patricia Jamieson, 35, a nurse of Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, said her brother was known by almost everyone in Prudhoe, where he had worked for 16 years. She added: "He was always laughing, always happy, nothing got him down.

"He lived for his sport, especially his boxing which he loved.

"It has just been a terrible day. We have had so many people round to his house with messages of support, and it is typical because everyone in Prudhoe knew him and liked him.

"I just remember him for his sense of humour and his caring nature. I can't believe it, he is going to be a massive loss for everyone."

Her husband Julian Jamieson, 31, an operations manager, added: "He was caring for his mother at home since his father died 24/7 - not a lot of sons would do that."

Linda Weston, manager of the Water World club, said: "Peter was a dedicated member of our team who brought a smile to the face of everyone he made contact with. We are all devastated and we will never forget our Pepsi."

A Northumbria Police spokesman said they would be examining the circumstances of the crash to provide evidence to the coroner for an inquest.

A spokeswoman for Northumberland County Council added: "This was a tragic accident and we offer our condolences. The police will be conducting an accident investigation and we will liaise with them."

A Tynedale Council statement said: "Peter has been employed by our partners Leisure Tynedale at Water World since the building opened in 1990. We are deeply saddened to hear of his tragic death and would like to express our sincere condolences to his family, friends and colleagues."

---------------------------------------------------------

Second tragedy shocks village

Peter Tullin's death crash was the second to rock the village of Wylam this year after three friends lost their lives after plunging into the river - prompting calls for extra safety measures.

In February, James Robson, 28, Richard Hornsby, 25, and 22-year-old Liz Carroll died when Ms Carroll's Renault Clio smashed through iron railings and dropped more than 30ft into shallow water. Safety barriers on the bridge were scrutinised by the council and the Highways Agency, but as yet no permanent work has taken place to improve the railings.

Families yesterday said speeding cars on Ovingham Road made it dangerous to drive along, and that the wooden crash barriers were not designed to withstand the weight of a car. Yesterday, several bouquets of flowers were left at the spot where Mr Tullin died. Structural engineer Harry Walton, 45, walking past the scene from his home in Ovingham to Wylam, said: "I don't feel safe walking or driving down here, as people speed past and it is a narrow lane."

Ken John, 69, a magistrate in Hexham who lives on Ovingham Road, said: "The danger is when people drive at excessive speed."

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer